In the latter half of January in southern Ohio you may notice maple trees with small metal buckets attached. The buckets are collecting sap from maple trees to be used in making maple syrup.
Students from LGS’s 4th through 8th grades recently made a trip to Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, Ohio, to learn more about the process, even helping to collect sap and then enjoying the warmth of the evaporate and the maple-scented room.
Maple trees, specifically sugar maples, are among the most common Ohio trees. In late winter and early spring, maple trees begin “sap flow”: ground water mixes with the sugar in the tree and produces a clear liquid called sap.
Maple syrup producers “tap” the trees by drilling a small hole into the trunk and inserting a small tap. A bucket is hung underneath the tap to catch the sap as it flows from the tree.
Depending on the age and health of the tree and the weather conditions, each maple tree can produce between 10 and 20 gallons of sap.
It takes 40 gallons of sap to create just one gallon of maple syrup.
To make the syrup, the sap is collected and poured into a large evaporator, a large stainless steel box over a large heat source, which essentially boils the sap, removing water until it reaches a syrup consistency.
The trip to the Cincinnati Nature Center offered a great opportunity for learning and for spending time out of doors. The only thing missing were the pancakes!